The Condemnation of Blackness

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/30/2011
  • Publisher: Harvard Univ Pr

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Lynch mobs, chain gangs, and popular views of black southern criminals that defined the Jim Crow South are well known. We know less about the role of the urban North in shaping views of race and crime in American society. Following the 1890 census, the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery, crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land of opportunity were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites-liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners-as indisputable proof of blacks#x19; inferiority. In the heyday of #x1C;separate but equal,#x1D; what else but pathology could explain black failure in the #x1C;land of opportunity#x1D;? The idea of black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America, as were African Americans#x19; own ideas about race and crime. Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, this fascinating book reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies.

Author Biography

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Introduction: The Mismeasure of Crimep. 1
Saving the Nation: The Racial Data Revolution and the Negro Problemp. 15
Writing Crime into Race: Racial Criminalization and the Dawn of Jim Crowp. 35
Incriminating Culture: The Limits of Racial Liberalism in the Progressive Erap. 88
Preventing Crime: White and Black Reformers in Philadelphiap. 146
Fighting Crime: Politics and Prejudice in the City of Brotherly Lovep. 192
Policing Racism: Jim Crow Justice in the Urban Northp. 226
Conclusion: The Conundrum of Criminalityp. 269
Manuscript Sourcesp. 279
Notesp. 281
Acknowledgmentsp. 369
Indexp. 375
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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